News Release


DATE: November 2, 2001

CONTACT STEVE SCHMIDT AT 619-531-4766 or 619-206-9108



SAN DIEGO - The National headquarters of the American Red Cross owes it to fire victims in Alpine to produce the complete and unedited audit of the San Diego chapter's response to last winter's Viejas fire, Supervisor Dianne Jacob said today.

Jacob's request comes after the San Diego Red Cross released a modified 10 page version of the 26 page national audit. The local chapter's version claimed that the chapter received high marks for its delivery of relief services during the 10,000 acre wildfire. The San Diego Union-Tribune, however, acquired a copy of the national audit from an anonymous source and published findings which contradict the local chapter's assertions.

"The Union-Tribune has confirmed what the victims in the community of Alpine and I found out in January," said Supervisor Jacob."The San Diego Red Cross exploited victims of the Viejas Fire to raise money." Supervisor Jacob said. "The local chapter mislead the public though deceptive fundraising efforts and spent only a fraction of the money it raised on actual fire victims," she said.

"Victims of the fire, donors to the San Diego Red Cross and the entire San Diego public deserves to know where the entire $400,000 raised as a result of the Alpine fire went," Supervisor Jacob said.

This summer, Jacob called on the National Red Cross to investigate the local chapter's handling of the fire relief effort after the local chapter failed to produce a full accounting of donation expenditures. Jacob said she was assured by local chapter chief executive Dodie Rotherham numerous times that the chapter would produce a full accounting of the donations. Jacob said she has yet to see official numbers.

Today, in a letter to national Board President David McLaughlin, Jacob reiterated her request for a full accounting of the donations.

"This is the same request that I made to local Board member Tricia Hunter on October 2, 2001, to Dr. Bernadine Healy on August 8, 2001 and to Dodie Rotherham on May 10, 2001," Supervisor Jacob wrote. "I have been straightforward in my discussion with the local chapter since this matter began and, quite frankly, the actions of the local chapter leadership are appalling," she said.